RONNIE RUSH INDICTED ON MURDER CHARGES - Indictments On Six Additional Counts

Seventeen-year-old Ronnie Rush of Sand Ridge has been indicted on two counts of murder in the deaths of Calhoun residents Ward Groves and his ex-wife Mary Hicks.

Groves and Hicks were brutally slain by close-range shotgun blasts, shot to death in their beds in May, 2003.

The Grand Jury also indicted Rush on one count of first degree robbery, one count of burglary, one count of grand larceny, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Judge Thomas Evans III ruled in May that Rush will be tried as an adult in the double homicide.

The murders were committed along US 33-119 near Sand Ridge, an area adjacent to the remote Bear Fork woods.

Rush was declared competent to stand trial after a series of psychiatric examinations by the court, although the youth reportedly presents problems related to his mental capabilities with indications he is developmentally disabled.

The court found "a preponderance of the evidence" that Rush can stand trial.

The youth was a longtime acquaintance of Groves, traveling with him and frequently staying with the well-known trader. Rush family members and Rush himself have said Groves was "like a father to him."

After inheriting a considerable amount of cash from his brother (court documents say about $170,000), Groves had purchased a house and had moved his ex-wife into the dwelling.

There were indications Ronnie Rush had a room in the dwelling, and had been staying there.

Rush had been helping Groves move, and was either in the house when the murders took place, or according to his statement, was nearby. Court documents say the youth gave several different accounts of what happened the night of the murders.

The court says there is "clear and convincing evidence that pre-trial statements given by Ronnie Rush ... were willfully and deliberately false or misleading."

Court documents allege some investigative errors, but contend a primary motive for Rush to commit the crimes was "greed." The youth, according to court documents, was connected to several different amounts of cash that could have come from the Groves residence.

A sealed investigation of problems over how the State Police handled their investigation of the murder will likely play a role in the case.

Authorities have declined to disclose who ordered the investigation or what it contains, but court documents indicate a series of problems connected to the interrogation of Rush.

Rush made at least two 911 calls reporting the shooting, one stating he had been at a neighbor's house asleep when he heard two gunshots. Other statements indicate he was present in the household when the murders happened.

State Police originally charged Bobby Ray Shamblin of Stumptown with the shootings. That case moved ahead on probable cause, but he was later released on bond from Central Regional Jail after there appeared to be a lack of evidence against him.

There appeared to be no evidence to place him at the scene of the crime, although Rush told police that Shamblin held him at knife point and made him watch while Shamblin shot the couple.